Doug Bolling

In Vitro

Morning and I listen for
clues in the familiar maze.
World becoming itself again
among these sycamores,
their music of rasping leaves.
Long ago in the family house
our mirrors the parents showing us
ourselves before school and
after in the desperate shadows
of evening.
Life the clown showing only
its plastic face and long red slippers.
Whirling legs and arms mocking
the margins.
I can’t explain the emptiness that
holds me like a tight blanket
in an operating room.
I can’t make a connection.
How the hours slice through me
on their weightless dagger.
How I retrace the steps no
longer there.
How Anne spoke her poems
at the bistro only a week ago
and vanished the
next day,
not even a note, not even
a blue scarf.


0ver and Back



Those summers we explored the
deeper woods below the bluffs
like twin phantoms.
You saying: what is it with time,
how it occupies space
without saying
a word.
How it spills through us
like the rays of moon.
But didn’t we agree traveling
is dangerous.
Didn’t we believe edges
attract and repel.
And the memories we’d lived
through, how they grew skin and aged
like an old man’s jowls.
The shadows that seemed almost
benign as though asleep.
And sleep you saying.
Isn’t that where space and time
invent themselves as never before.
Didn’t we dream away whole summers
under the willows where the stream
carried away the hours in its
lavender arms.
Didn’t we imagine ourselves
growing old but
always young.